Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que" which is Algonquin for "the good land."

So I turned the show on right at 8, and the first thing I saw was Gokey's smug/smarmy smile. A little part of me died right there.

Last week it was FRC, and this week Gokey. Is Idol bringing back all of the creepy singers from years past? Was some of the Idol eye candy not available? Where's Kimberly Caldwell? Becky O'Donohue? K-Mac? Heck, I'd settle for Lindsay Cardinale.

One nice thing about the auditions this year is that they're not being mean. Yeah, I know that some people tune in just to see the delusional trainwrecks, but I appreciate that they're showing more of the good singers than the bad. One side effect is that there seems to be a concentration of what our friend Beckeye calls "Very Special Contestants". These are the sob stories who tend to get extra TV time because they are a miracle baby (Anthony Fedorov), their spouse recently died (Gokey), they're a single mom (Fantasia) or their parents fled the remnants of war-torn Yugoslavia (that girl from last Wednesday) just so their daughter could audition for Idol.

I just wish they'd show singers, instead of handing votes to some people at the expense of others. I know I harp on the thing about face time, but it does make a difference. It's no secret that Idol pimps some of its singers ahead of others (Archuleta, Carrie, Gokey, et al), and to think that early face time in the audition rounds doesn't make a difference is sheer foolishness.

Another complaint I have about the show is the age limit of 15. For example, that girl who drove her family just after getting her learners permit will get chewed up and spit out by the show. I'll bet she doesn't make it past the first day in Hollywood. Her problem is that she's got all these dreams, her parents tell her she's good, but she has no frame of reference and no past failures. Idol will crush her. And not just a little. We're looking at a Leah LaBelle-level meltdown.

If you're crying in the auditions for any reason, you're 1) not mentally tough enough for the show, or 2) just mugging for the camera and trying to farm sympathy from the viewing public.

The minimum age should be 18, and the upper limit should be 30. Yeah, I know that most "Idols" get started young, but if the object is to find someone with staying power (something the show has repeatedly failed at--7 of 9 times), 15 year old kids are not the way to go. Of course, the show only cares about ratings this season, and if the "American Idol" vanishes from the scene, they will just be replaced next year.

While the show wades through the crap, check out this Lord of the Rings Online fan video.

In other MMO news, it appears that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be coming out later than we had been led to believe. A part of me is disappointed, but I'd like the game to be good, so I don't mind if they're tweaking the content. On the other hand, they can only back the release date up for so long before people decide to stick with WoW, DC Universe Online or LOTRO.

Another wish I have for the show: No one in a costume is allowed to audition!!! Just effing sing.

The rest of the auditions have been pretty meh for me. Aside from the young woman who got whacked by the Big Dawg, they were all pretty blah (she was actually pretty good, but where was her family? Are they all Republicans?).

Also, since I'm bored, check out the funniest TV spot of the football season.

Another thing I like about this season is the way Steven leers over all of the jailbait. While it's kind of creepy, he's at the point in his life where he's a dirty old man, not a perv. I can only hope to live that long. Maybe when he dies, we can dry him out and smoke him.

I think I'm going to try and rustle up a group for Hall of Crafting.

High Lord. Victorious Hunter of the Sword-Halls. Out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is Idol smarter than a 5th grader?

That's right, friends, Idol is starting its 10th season. Gone is the triumvirate of Randy-Paula-Simon to be replaced by Randy-Jennifer-Steven. I can't say I'm unhappy with the new panel, but I'll have to wait and see if it works out.

Personally, I wish they'd have kept Ellen and replaced Randy, who was always the most superflous of the "judges". The old panel had chemistry (before they effed it up by introducing Kara) and I think that's part of the reason why Ellen left. Of course, now that her main antagonist (Simon) is also gone, she could have done a good job to flourish on her own.

Nigel has promised lots of changes, of which I'm sure I'll be talking about as the season drags on, but the biggest is the departure of Simon Cowell. I'm actually happy he left. His frankness was refreshing when the show debuted, but now it's kind of cliche. My other problem with Cowell is that for the last four or so years, he's been phoning it in, and for the last two (if not three), he's been obviously bored with the whole thing. As if it were a burden on him to make tens of millions of dollars to show up for Idol.

Seacrest is also back, and I hope Nigel reins him in and keeps him from making the show about him and not the singers. They've also dispensed with the forced gender equity going into the top 12 (yay!) and lowered the age limit to 15 (boo!).

In other news, I'm still playing my hunter, but I've recently made my main LOTRO character an elf minstrel, who is also level 65 and I've started playing a captain who is now level 55. I'm playing way too much LOTRO, but at least I'm staying out of trouble (mostly). Look me up on Elendilmir; I'm an officer in our kinship, The Druadan. I'm usually logged on as Vraeden, Vuvuzeyla or Voontak (no, the V's are not for "Vistors").

As the show opens, the screen says the show is "ours". That's refreshing. For the past several seasons, it seems Idol has been more about Seacrest and keeping Simon entertained than the singing. I also hope they go back to being about affirming singers and choosing a good singer, not highlighting trainwrecks or being mean to people (remember "the other door" stunt and what they did to Judd?).

I'm very happy to see the always-hawt J-Lo. Not so much for the really unattractive Steven Tyler (his daughter Liv, on the other hand . . .). I hope they work out, and on the face of it, the two new judges have cache and real name recognition, unlike Kara and to a lesser extent Paula. I just wish they would have replaced Randy as well. Maybe he'll stop trying to be ghetto and become the reasonable voice he used to be.

Under the old panel, there was a producer, a performer and an executive. Each had a role and perspective. Now we've got a producer, a performer and a maybe washed-up/burned-out legend. There was also an MC who kept things moving, but then he dumped the co-host and tried to make the show about him. I think they should have dumped Randy, kept Ellen and replaced Seacrest with Harry Connick, Jr. But that's just my wish list.

I'm not going to talk too much about the initial audition shows, since I think they're mostly filler and they spend too much time highlighting the William Hungs of the world or handing people votes with their sob stories (Anthony Fedorov), their aw-shucks stories (Carrie Underwood) or outright pimping the handful of singers the producers want to win (Gokey, Archuleta). We'll find out if Idol has turned a corner if they actually have a level playing field going in to the Hollywood rounds.

Since my last Idol post, we've switched from Comcast (those bastards!) to DirecTV, whom I'm pretty happy with. I had to keep my Comcast cable internet because we life too far from the nearest DSL switch, but I like DirecTV so much better than Comcast. We get more HD channels, we actually get the channels we pay for and I haven't been jerked around every five months when Comcast feels like jacking up the monthly premium.

I just got a glimpse of FRC, and a little part of me just died when the eye-boink hit me like Call of Oromë striking an orc.

The first two singers they show are put through, and I wonder if we're going to spend the season wondering what's in Steven's cup. We also get our first glimpse of a 15 year old auditioner. I've said before that 16 is too young, and I definitely feel that a 15 year old will get chewed up and spit out by the show (Jaclyn Crum, anyone?).

As the show goes on, I'm going to do some word association:

Big boobs (good)

Oversinging (bad)

Crying (very bad)

"Miracle" babies (blech)

Falsetto (cringe)

J-Lo (yum)

Boy Scouts (why don't they sell cookies?)

Commericals (yawn)

Begging the judges (no pride)

Victoria Huggins (Carrie Underwood if she had a North Carolina twang, oversang everything, and was annoying as hell)

16 year-olds who dress like they're 22 (jail)

Brooklynn Decker (damn you, Andy Roddick!)

Mrs. High Lord was ticked off at me the other day. You see, we came home from work one day and a bunch of stuff I bought on eBay showed up. Namely, a Microsoft Sidewinder X6 keyboard, Logitech G13 gamepad, Razer Naga mouse and Razer Carcharias headset. My MMO setup is bad-ass. It's too bad I haven't quite gotten the whole PvP thing down yet (but I'm working on it! I'm really looking forward to the new Star Wars MMO that's supposed to drop in April.

I figure while I'm in the doghouse I may as well make the most of my time there. I'm thinking of trading in my car for a new one. I've got an RX-8, and while there's nothing wrong with it, I'm approaching my midlife crisis, so I'm thinking about getting the new Toyota/Scion FT-86, Nissan 370Z or perhaps a BMW 1-series coupe. You'll know I'm in trouble if I ask for a place to crash for a while.

To offset that, I'm sending her to Florida next month to visit her BFF in Orlando and go to Harry Potter land at Universal Studios. That should score me bunches of points. Then later this year, I think we're going to Hawaii. That should get me a new sports car, right? Or at least an iPhone 5 when they drop in June . . .

Last fall, I tried to pre-emptively tried to score some points by buying Mrs. High Lord an iPad. She's been looking for an eReader device, and we had tried out the MicroVelocity Cruz Reader, but it had some issues booting up and some problems with the Android OS, so we traded it in. While she was out of town, I bought it for her after Borders gave me my money back on the Cruz (which will probably be good in its second generation after they work all the bugs out). So far, it's a great device, but before you get it, know that an iPad is not a laptop (even though its priced like one) and you shouldn't expect it to do laptop things. But if you want a device that will surf the internet, let you check your mail and play Angry Birds, the iPad is a marvelous device (aside from the price).

Overall first impressions of tonight: Lots off good singers got shown. A few bad ones. The new judges's table looks like a lot of fun. Seacrest is not being shown as prominently. I hate that the show is on Wednesday/Thursday now because that's really going to mess with my other favourite show: The Big Bang Theory (DVR: Good!).

Tomorrow, we're going to N'Awlins, so I'll see you then.

High Lord. Diminisher of Giants. Out.